I’ve been playing around with a few crazy instruction ideas for a while. Sometimes I come up with the content I want to teach first and then and idea how to execute it comes quickly after. Other times I start with some crazy idea and then see if I can find a way to fit it to any instruction I’m currently working on. I talked about a few of those ideas on my “Becky is a real person, not a librarian” blog almost a year ago now. You might notice that the reality food competition one looks suspiciously like the history presentation instruction I recently posted about. Now it’s time to put the Speed Dating into action.
This time it was integrated into something other than instruction. I also co-run/host/organize a Young Adult Book Club on campus. (For readers of young adult fiction, not just for young adults.) In our second year our numbers more than doubled. Trying to keep up our momentum as we rushed into the end of the semester, my coworker and I realized reading another title before the end of the semester would be difficult at best and detrimental to studies at the worst. So instead we decided to plan what I called our “First Annual UD YA Book Speed Dating party.”
We did a quick, get-to-know my favorite book discussion. Everyone shared a book they thought the group would like and a quick description of it. We suggested they find a short passage to share as well. Basically we wanted them to talk up a book. During this round-robin, the leaders took notes as to title/author/member to post on the group Facebook page and email to absent members. After that we had everyone fill out a “personals ad” form.
They could fill as much or as little of it out, just leaving the bottom 2 lines blank. Then we refilled our hot cocoa (or cider) and wandered around offering possible perfect matches to their book dating needs. It was a different way to tap into the collective reading experience of the group. Especially for people who were too shy to share a book verbally during the first round. Members got to take home their slips at the end of the event with new book suggestions for the holiday break.
During the event we splurged for cookies and hot cocoa/hot cider packets. We borrowed a coworkers coffee urn for the hot water and gathered a collection of old holiday mugs for everyone to use. (Way more festive and green than styrofoam.) We also set up a laptop and book display to let people vote for the first 2 titles we will read in the spring. We provided print copies of book descriptions and copies of the books themselves (if they wanted to judge it by the cover). The laptop was open to the polling site we use, so they could vote right away.
Overall, I think it was a success. Some members had more fun standing around and discussing book suggestions with people than writing them down on the slips, but they got at the same result so we were happy. Enthusiasm was high despite it being the week before finals. And an unintended result was learning a lot more of our members are sci-fi and fantasy fans than we first thought!